Following an impressive 20% gain in just 2 months, gold has dropped $100/oz in the past two weeks. I've seen a number of pundits come out recently stating that gold prices are much too high, gold is a bubble, and/or a significant decline is coming. Some of these comments are coming from the very individuals who've tried calling the top in gold a number of times over the last 5 years, during which time gold has appreciated 200%. Compare that return to the stock or bond markets.
Looking below at the 10-year chart of gold you see price action typical of a long-term secular bull market. Sharp climbs are followed by some retracement and consolidation. This 9-year (so far) bull market has experienced a number of year-long periods of stagnation or decline. The fact that we're experiencing some profit taking after the recent run shouldn't surprise anyone. This is normal and healthy.
So is the current decline a temporary shake-out of weak hands, the beginning of a more significant decline, or the beginning of a period of extended consolidation? Only time will tell, but it's unlikely that the secular bull market in gold has just seen its peak. We've been using the current pullback as an opportunity to once again boost our exposure.
Until the trend of global monetary and political mismanagement is convincingly reversed, there is little reason to sell our precious metals position. Annual gold production has been in decline this decade, central banks will soon be net buyers, the opportunity cost to owning gold is nil, gold is terribly under-owned, the metal is very cheap relative to the monetary base, and the public is just beginning to wake up to the merits of owning gold.
I find gold as attractive today as I did in 2003, although the investment case has changed somewhat. My contrarian nature struggles somewhat with the tremendous performance gold and gold stocks have already posted and the fact that gold is no longer hated and undiscovered. Nevertheless, the investment case remains strong, and there is a very decent chance that a mania phase still lies ahead. I suspect the time to sell will be when virtually everyone can quote you the price of gold.
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